Cloaks have a long history in the world. Although today they are the exception and no longer the rule, the concept of cloak has been kept alive through the dramatic images of cloaks in books, films, and internet games. The cloak was originally used as a blanket or bed covering, as well as an outer garment of protection and warmth for the wearer. Tailored cloaks were not worn until Renaissance times, and in Victorian times they were worn to gracefully cover wide skirts and crinolines or to hide pregnancies. By the 1930s they were considered evening wear and still continue to find a following for special occasions such as opera or wedding wear. In Maori culture cloaks were worn for protection but were also worn as a sign of great prestige.
The weavers were asked to think of cloak as the starting point for their design concepts – what cloak could mean for them personally and how their weaving could be developed to represent their ideas within the theme. They were asked to go beyond the traditional boundaries and perceived restrictions of their craft/art.